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The Yankees haven’t been strangers to scoring runs this season as they are currently ranked fourth in the majors this year in runs scored per game at 4.90. The team slightly ahead of them at 4.99 runs per game are the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees’ opponent tonight. A little over a month and a half ago, on May 29, the Yankees were 26-23, 2.5 games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East. Today, in 39 games since, the Bombers have a commanding eight game lead with a record of 54-34. A huge part of their success has been their hitting, which has picked up as the temperature rises in New York this summer.
Yesterday, unfortunately in a loss, the Yankees set a single season franchise record by scoring three or more runs in 39 straight games. Their previous highest mark stretched over the 1950-51 seasons at 49 games. All-time, the Yanks are ranked third in the live-ball era with this current streak. Only the 1994 Cleveland Indians (48 games) and the 1930 Athletics (41) are ahead of the 2012 Yankees.
Tonight, New York will face the Blue Jays and Henderson Alvarez, who will be facing the Yankees for the second time in his career. In his previous start against New York, Alvarez went six innings, giving up five runs on nine hits. Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-3 in that game with a three-run homer. Although this is a very small sample size, you’d have to imagine that the Yankees are primed to score some runs tonight.
They’ll have Phil Hughes on the mound, who has had great success in Yankee Stadium over his last two starts – he’s allowed two runs over 16 total innings with a stunning strikeout-to-walk ratio of 12-to-1. Hughes has had success with his curveball over those two starts as well, as opponents had just three hits in 15 at-bats (.200) ending on that pitch. This year, the home run has plagued Hughes, but he hasn’t allowed a homer in his last three starts. Only two other times has Hughes had longer streaks as a starter. Tonight, he will have to face Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, who have combined to hit 52 home runs so far this season.
If the offense can get to Alvarez again, the Yankees will surely add on to their impressive runs scored per game streak. Tonight however, they hope Hughes is on his game and the night ends in a win and another game added on to their stranglehold in the AL East.